The Szechuan Chicken You Can Make At Home

Szechuan province, also often spelled as Sichuan, is located in the southwest of China. It's a region known for giant pandas, the mighty Yangtze river, the massive provincial capital city of Chengdu (population approximately 9 million people), and, of course, the finest cuisine from all of China. According to China Highlights: "Sichuan province is the birthplace of many dishes that are well-received globally. Sichuan food, originated from the Southwestern region of China, is the most widely served cuisine in China itself." 

When you try out this recipe, Szechuan Chicken may become one of the most widely served dishes in your home, too. And while it might seem like a complex meal, chef, food writer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness says: "This one is very easy once your prep work is done." It's also a great meal to make in large batches planning ahead to enjoy it on subsequent days. "Szechuan Chicken keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days," Carli says, adding: "This weekend, I actually took this one to a friend that just had a baby. It's a great dish to serve to others [as] they can easily heat and eat."

Before you get great leftovers, though, you need to cook up a fresh meal. So let's get cooking!

Gather your ingredients

This recipe yields a complete meal, including plenty of protein, veggies, and carbs. To get all that goodness in one dish, you'll need 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 yellow onion, diced, 1 red bell pepper, diced, 1 green bell pepper, diced, 12 ounces of frozen broccoli and cauliflower, thawed, 1/4 of a cup of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 green onions, sliced, and 14 ounces of rice noodles.

"You could substitute tofu for chicken and this dish would be vegetarian," says Carli. But of course it's designed around chicken.

Prep and cook the chicken

Trim any fat and gristle off the chicken breasts, and then cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Then place the cubed chicken inside a large freezer bag with the cornstarch, zip it closed tightly, and shake the bag until all of the chicken is coated in cornstarch.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil warms, add the chicken and allow it to cook through completely, flipping and stirring the cubes every so often. This will take between 10 to 12 minutes in most cases. Check the meat with a thermometer (it must hit 165º internally) or by cutting a few pieces in half and ensuring the meat is all white. Remove the cooked chicken from skillet and set it aside.

Cook the veggies in the same pan

Once the chicken is removed, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the warm pan, then add the onion and peppers and stir them regularly. Allow the veggies to cook until the onion turns translucent, which will take about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Next, add the broccoli and cauliflower to the skillet. Stir to combine everything, and then allow all of these vegetables to cook for another 3 minutes, stirring a few times. By now, the kitchen should be quite fragrant. And the rest of the house, too.

Add the chicken, sauce, and the green onions

Add the cooked chicken back to pan and stir to combine the meat and vegetables. Then immediately add in the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar, and stir to coat and combine. Allow everything to cook for 5 minutes, and then add in the green onions and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it is at a rolling boil, place the rice noodles in the water, stir, and then let them cook for 5 minutes (unless the package directions specify other, in which case follow the directions). Drain the cooked noodles and set them aside.

Time to finish the dish

Assemble plates of Szechuan Chicken servings by spooning the chicken and veggies out over beds of rice noodles. Now it's time to dig in. But first, if you or any of your diners like things hot, Carli says: "To dial up [the] spice, add red chili flakes." Also consider sliced peppers, like jalapeños You can also drizzle a bit more soy sauce for a bit more tang, but don't overdo it.

Other ingredients you can mix into this dish include crushed nuts, like peanuts or cashews, or sesame seeds, which add a bit of flavor and look great. You can also try serving it over rice, or without a starch for a low carb but still very tasty meal.

The Szechuan Chicken You Can Make At Home
5 from 31 ratings
This recipe for Szechuan Chicken is easy, healthy, and delicious -- your family will beg you to make it every week!
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
6
Servings
Szechuan Chicken
Total time: 35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 ounces frozen broccoli and cauliflower, thawed
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 14 ounces rice noodles
Directions
  1. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes, then place inside a large freezer bag with cornstarch and zip up tightly. Shake until all chicken is coated.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add chicken and allow to cook fully, flipping every so often, for 10 to 12 minutes. Then remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and add onion and peppers and allow to cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, then add broccoli and cauliflower to skillet and stir to combine. Then allow to cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Add chicken back to pan, then add soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar, and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add green onions and stir to combine.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and use it to cook the rice noodles according to package instructions (usually takes about 5 minutes), then drain and set aside.
  8. Assemble servings by spooning chicken and veggies over rice noodles.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 522
Total Fat 9.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 99.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 69.1 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Total Sugars 5.2 g
Sodium 804.7 mg
Protein 38.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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